The past three cycles have seen historic levels of youth participation — and the cohort is as progressive as ever — but if these voters stay home in 2024 because of these attitude shifts, Della Volpe said, it could doom the incumbent president and Democrats.
« I feel like it’s a responsibility to sound this alarm now when there’s time to do something about it, » said Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. “These voters need to accept the values of the party and the candidates… and appreciate that politics can make a difference. You can’t do that in a full week’s ad buy after Labor Day.
Biden’s world insists on not taking young people for granted. One of Della Volpe’s former students, Richard Sweeney, was recently hired by Biden’s senior aides as a White House political analyst with a focus on young people. Sweeney will meet with youth advocates and work across departments – Office of Public Engagement, Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, digital and comms – to reach young people on priorities such as climate, LGBTQ issues and abortion rights, an official from the White House he said.
And Christian Tom, who worked under former Office of Digital Strategy director Rob Flaherty until last August, just returned to the White House last week to lead that operation and find new ways to engage with young people.
Yes, that will mean more White House celebrity sightings like BTS and Olivia Rodrigo. But Tom’s office is working closely with the senior advisors who monitor focus group research to make sure they’re addressing key policy issues. His team is also implementing a rapid response strategy that leverages his network of social media influencers.
After the Supreme Court’s student loan decision was made last month, senior White House officials participated in a Zoom call with about 20 influencers who summarized information about each other’s accounts, resulting in an estimated 6 million TikTok views. , Instagram and Twitter, according to a White House official. One user, Vivian, a former Wall Street trader also known as @yourrichbff, posted a video shooting down the decision, and this week posted another one Tiktok highlight What comes next.
As for the campaign, Flaherty will join re-election in a senior role, where he will have a hand in digital strategy, though his official title and start date have not been announced.
Biden’s team will also rely on young surrogates like Rep. « Tennessee Three » Justin Jones, 27, who was ousted by Republicans after protesting in support of gun restrictions, and Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) , a 26-year-old member of the President’s National Advisory Board.
“Youth voter turnout is something we should never think is in the bag. This surge that we’ve seen since 2018, while it’s really kept pace over the past three cycles, is also very new, » Frost told West Wing Playbook.
Messages about Biden’s record are part of it, but surrogates will also draw on opposition to Donald Trump and withdrawal of rights. Finding new ways to do this is vital, Frost said.
A video of Frost on stage in Washington with Paramore and his atom bomb by Ron Desantis it went viral last monthbut a bigger impact occurred the following week when the band allowed Frost’s team to organize a table at his Orlando show and collect signatures to get a constitutional amendment on abortion on the Florida ballot in 2024. They got about 1,800 signatures at the venue in just hours.
For its part, the DNC is training young voters on how to mobilize on college campuses, partnering with gun violence prevention groups, and providing resources to help these voters find jobs in Democratic politics.
The DNC will also leverage partnerships with youth voter groups such as NextGen America, the largest youth voter operation in the country. The organization plans to spend tens of millions to get Biden reelected, said its president, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez.
« No candidate can win on their own with the youth vote, » he said, « but I can promise you that if a Democrat doesn’t have the youth vote, they’re going to lose. »